Thursday, September 24, 2009

Remember Easter?

This afternoon on our way to swim class, Maiya said, "Mama, remember Easter?" I actually didn't. But I remembered that I had some pictures from Easter that I just saw recently in our unblogged photo collection. Now that we have a new computer, I just downloaded over 2,000 photos from our little photo card, and have been categorizing them.
Other fun things we're doing with Photo Booth on our new computer. And don't even get me started on the apps on our iTouch. I wrote a Haiku on it this afternoon watching Maiya's swim class. Lily wants to give me 1,200 games. I got enough games. Between FB, Bejeweled Blitz and YoVille, and playing on the new computer, I am barely getting any sleep. And to prove how bad it is, I was telling a story to Tony & Maiya at dinner the other night, how I greenly used the same boiling pot of water 3 times, to boil edamame, broccoli & pasta, Tony said, "You should blog about it." Then 4 year old Maiya said, "You should Facebook it!" So of course I had to do both. On another note, I donated blood today for the first time, so at least I'm doing something useful with my time.
Let's do "Surprised!"

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Staycation: Doing Origami

Maiya loves origami. She has decorated her bedroom windows with paper cranes and ribbons. We've been doing a lot of origami at home lately, including 3 times during our recent stay-at-home vacation.

Over the years, we have collected quite a few books and instructions on origami making. There are some complex ones with impossible photos, where you can create all kinds of animals with googly eyes. We have one for Jewish Origami that we've had for years. We recently got a vintage (old but brand new) origami kit and book from Auntie Keiko that is very kid friendly. I am still searching for a detailed and easy set of instructions for the crane, because after all these years, I still have trouble with the cranes.
Jewish horn, dreidel and Jewish star of David necklace

Since I'm on the subject of origami, I'd like to give a quick plug for the book 1001 Cranes, written by our friend Naomi Hirahara. It's written for the young girls, but darn it if I didn't just love it for its cultural references and sweet coming-of-age story. I read it cover to cover really quickly, tears reserved for the end of the book. I know, I know. Anyways, highly recommended for all ages, and a great gift for the tween.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Staycation: Making Playdoh

The top things on Maiya's vacation list of fun things to do at home was Playdoh, Green Playdoh and Clay. So, we made baker's clay (recipe in a previous blog post here). It was fun, we made a half batch and split it in half, making one pinkish and another blue green earth.
Snow Cone with Mochi Bits

After playing with the clay for almost 2 hours, we decided to make snow cones. I have a great hand cranking snow cone machine that I got back in college that is fantastic. Yummy delicious.
Want some?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Staycation 2009: Unschooling

If I wasn't working full time and then some, I'd be an unschooling mama. Unschooling is like homeschooling, except that sometimes homeschooling implies duplicating a teacher or parent-led formal classroom, with curriculum, textbooks, workbooks, assignments, etc.

The concept of unschooling--as I understand--is following your child's interests, and allowing them to play, create and learn about the world through experiences rather than through memorizing facts and figures. So if a child wants to make brownies, then then by finding and following a recipe, measuring the ingredients, would foster reading, math and science... and it is something they chose to do so they are more motivated learners.

To me, unschooling is a natural progression to attachment parenting, natural parenting and connection parenting, all of which I've embraced in my parenting journey. It also aligns with the developmental approach, that I've learned in my child development and early childhood education classes, and that we do in our childcare program at work.

So, a few weeks ago, I had a week of vacation, but we stayed home. So on the first day of the vacation, or staycation, I asked Maiya to make a list of things we could do at home that were fun. Here is the list she came up with (when I remembered, I marked the days we did each one):
Things We Can Do At Home That Are Fun This Week
  • make playdoh (Tues/Fri)
  • green playdoh (Tues)
  • clay (Tues)
  • play games (Thurs/Fri-Memory Game/Candyland)
  • a little bit of TV (Wed- actually it was a lot that day)
  • origami (Tues/Thurs/Fri-she wanted to do it every day)
  • construction paper (Fri)
  • water painting
  • coloring
  • play in my room a little (daily)
  • play outside a little (Fri)
  • ride my bike a little
  • play in my little house
  • drawing
  • build some stuff with blocks (Wed)
  • do some magnet toys (Wed)
  • cook some pretend food (Thurs/Sat)
  • make snowcones (Tues)
  • read books (Fri, a few mornings & nightly)
Other things we did:
  • Nisei Week Ondo (Sun)
  • swim class (Tues/Thurs)
  • climb the steps/Baldwin Overlook (Tues)
  • Aunt Liz & Family for dinner (Wed)
  • Culver City outdoor concert (Thurs)
  • Jewish Shabbat Dinner (Fri)
  • Ballona Festival (Sat)
By the end of each day, I was exhausted. The first day, Monday, I had a nice day of pampering, going to lunch, a movie and the spa with Lily. I also read a few books, did some work on the house, and worked out a few times. I did enjoy kind of floating through our days without much agenda, and letting Maiya choose our activities from her list. I also took the Monday off of the next week, but we sent Maiya to preschool that day--I needed a day off from my "vacation." Pictures on many of these events to follow over the next several days.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cross Posting on the LT

I wrote a blog entry Remembering Far East Cafe on the Little Tokyo Unblogged, sharing an old poem